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High Achiever, Gifted Learner, Creative Thinker 

Bertie Kingore, Ph.D. 

Identification of gifted students is clouded when concerned adults misinterpret high achievement as giftedness. 

High-achieving students are noticed for their on-time, neat, well-developed, and correct learning products. Adults comment on these students' consistent high grades and note how well they acclimate to class procedures and discussions. Some adults assume these students are gifted because their school-appropriate behaviors and products surface above the typical responses of grade-level peers. 

While high achievers are valuable participants whose high-level modeling is welcomed in classes, they learn differently than gifted learners. In situations in which they are respected and encouraged, gifted students’ thinking is more complex, with abstract inferences and more diverse perceptions than is typical of high achievers. 

Articulating these differences to educators and parents can be difficult. No column in this three way chart is intended to be mutually exclusive. A high achiever might also be a creative thinker, and a gifted learner might also be a creative thinker or high achiever. 

Click here to access the comparison chart of learners